The British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI Antarctic Research Station will go online this month just 900 miles from the South Pole.
Halley VI is the most southerly research facility operated by the BAS and is located on the 150-meter thick Brunt Ice Shelf, which is floating towards the sea at 400 meters per year. In this harsh climate the sun does not rise above the horizon for 105 days during the winter, temperatures can drop to -68 F, and winds can buffet the site in excess of 100 miles per hour. Access by ship and plane is limited to a 3-month window during the summer.
However, the Hally VI has been uniquely engineered to overcome Antarctica’s inhospitable climate. Based off the award-winning design by Hugh Broughton Architects, the station features modular compartments, hydraulically raised supports, and attachable ski pontoons. Unlike other fixed research facilities, Hally VI can be reconfigured as needed, raised or lowered depending on snow conditions, and moved piece by piece when its section of ice drifts too close to the sea.
While being more expensive to built initially, the Hally VI will have a drastically increased lifetime, making it a worthwhile investment in the long run.